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Saif: There should be reservation in India

Last updated on: May 17, 2011 17:39 IST

Saif: There should be reservation in India

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Patcy N in Mumbai

Back from the Cannes Film Festival, Saif Ali Khan has dived straight into work. He has started promoting his upcoming film Aarakshan along with his co-star Deepika Padukone and director Prakash Jha.

The actor addressed a media conference yesterday and gave us take on reservation of seats.

How was your Cannes experience?

It was very nice. I just think that the (right) time to go to Cannes is when you are taking a movie there, which is in competition. Going there without a film is like a dancer without his shoes. I went there as part of my duties as a brand ambassador for Chivas.

Cannes is a beautiful place and was a wonderful experience. Sometimes, we talk about it as if somebody has won an Oscar. But it's really not like that; it's just a trip to the south of France.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been walking the red carpet for years now.

Aishwarya is the international face of India and is a very beautiful face. We should be proud to have her as the representative to our country. She's been going there for the last 10 years, and that is wonderful.


Image: Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone at the promotions of Aarakshan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'Aarakshan is a story about reservation'

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What is Aarakshan about?

Aarakshan is a story about reservation. The story is told through the eyes of Dr Prabhakar Anand (Amitabh Bachchan), who is the legendary educationist. He runs a fictional university called STM University through which he tries to give the best education to people. The Supreme Court passes a law raising reservation to 50 percent. The impact of that on the people and the protagonists is what the film is about.

I play Deepak Kumar, a Dalit. He is a gifted student and teacher. Mr Bachchan and he share the relationship of a guru-shishya. He is also in love with Mr Bachchan's daughter played by Deepika Padukone. He is best friends with a wealthy guy, played by Prateik (Babbar).


Image: On the sets of Aarakshan

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'I don't think anybody's background should be discriminated against them'

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Certain groups in Kanpur were upset with the fact that you're playing a Dalit. What is your reaction to that?

I am not sure what exactly they are raising objection to.

They are offended that you come from a princely family and yet, are cast as a member of the Dalit group.

I don't think anybody's background should be discriminated against them. It is almost as bad as discriminating against Dalits. Perhaps they are used to a certain degree of treatment.

We have very sensitive sects in India. The Sikh community got a bit edgy during Love Aaj Kal as to how they would be represented. So maybe Dalits are also sensitive and worried. But I think Prakashji has represented them and their issues and problems very sensitively. I'm sure they will be proud and happy when they watch the film.

They should be happy a film has been made on their cause which looks at it very fairly.


Image: On the sets of Aarakshan

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'Dalits don't have a chance; they don't have any support in life'

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What are your views on reservation?

I have though about reservation and my personal opinion is that there should be reservation in our country. But to what extent is debatable -- whether it should be 50 percent or not, or whether it should be done at the initial school level or in every sphere of life.

But one thing is sure. We are a unique country. I don't think we have same problems like the others, so I don't think anyone is in a situation to understand our problems. Sometimes these problems need extreme measures, because these guys (Dalits) really don't have a chance; they don't have any support in life.
 
We are mostly a very un-educative and deeply corrupt society, apart from the two percent who ironically create well. In order for them to create fully, we have to give these guys a hands up. Many people will disagree with that but the point is not really what I feel. There are two sides to this. So it makes for a great movie.


Image: On the sets of Aarakshan

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